Even 20 years after the arms have been silent and the conflict that took around 100.000 lives away, Bosnia and Herzegovina still remains highly decentralized and affected by the internal inter-ethnic clashes. Namely, in February 2016, the country has formally applied for European Union membership; however, the progress regarding the respect on human rights remains largely stalled.
According to the Dayton Accords, which ended the war from 1992 to 1995, the country is a democratic republic with a bicameral parliament. It is divided in two entities (Federation and Republic of Srpska) and one district (Brčko). With a highly complex institutional and bureaucratic systems installed in every pore of political and social life, the authorities are constantly failing to implement democratic values and respect for human rights. The most affected and discriminated are civil war victims, refugees, internally displaced people, national minorities (Roma, Jews and other), and members of the LGBITQ communities, who constantly are striving to fight the stigma and ensure the respect of human rights.
In order to tackle the issues mentioned above, the local, regional and international civil society organizations throughout the country are recognized as a crucial component in the fight against discrimination and all other forms of human rights violations. This article offers a brief overview of the most active and visible human rights organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina which are always open to new types of cooperation.
SOC is a non-profit human rights organization that advocates for the full respect of human rights and insclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual transgender and intersex people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The mission of the organization is to act as an independent civil society organization that strives to empower vulnerable LGBITQ communities through community integration and activism. The organization is actively working on advocating for improved legislation and policies in the country as well as improving the state of human rights of the affected groups.
The HRC is an organizational unit of the University of Sarajevo. The organization was founded with a goal to provide the University with necessary education tools for a successful implementation of international human rights. Placed at the hearth of the University campus, the HRC’s mission is to contribute to the implementation of international human rights by providing necessary documentation, lectures, expert advice, research and other relevant materials. The HRC actively cooperates with other non-governmental organizations and national and international bodies that deal with human rights issues.
Amnesty International has been active in Bosnia and Herzegovina for many years. The organization’s focus is mainly put on combating political corruption and injustice towards former war victims. Amnesty International is the most active in monitoring, researching and publishing annual reports on human rights violations in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as providing support to vulnerable groups in the society through educational activities.
The PCRC is a human rights organization dedicated to restoring a culture of peace and preventing violent conflict and radicalization in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkans by creating, implementing and supporting innovative approaches to post-conflict research, peace eduaction, transitional justice and human rights. The organization strives for a society in which people no longer perceive diversity as a source of conflict. The PCRC is commited to establishing environment in which human rights are respected and the principles of democracy are valued.
ADI is a non-governmental organization based in Sarajevo. The organization is active in the fields of the rule of law, European Union integrations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and protection of human rights. The main activities of the organization are related to fostering participatory democracy and improving partnerships between civil society, governmental institutions and the private sector.
The mission of TJAR is to contribute to the establishment of transitional justice, the establishment of the Regional Commission for the Facts about War Crimes and Other Serious Violations of Human Rights Committed in the Former Yugoslavia, from January 1991 to December 2001 (RECOM), as well as reconciliation, culture of remembrance and peace-building in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and the region of the former of Yugoslavia. TJAR is currently implementing project ‘’Mapping of Detention Camps and Other Places of Detention in BiH 1992-1995’’. The aim of the project is to document and produce profiles of all detention camps that existed on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) during the last war in order to contribute to reconciliation and the process of ‘’never forgetting’’ sufferings of the victims of the war.
This international organization has been active since 1993 and is actively combating against violence and systemic rape during the conflict around the word. Today, Women for Women International is based in Sarajevo as an independent organization in affiliation with its international super. The organization strives to help women create economic opportunities and strengthen their civic engagement. So far, Women for Women International have reached and helped over 62.000 women across 50 communities of various ethnicities in Bosnia and Herzegovina
KULT is a non-governmental organization concentrated on resolving issues around human rights violations of young population in Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to KULT, young people in the country should be seen as key component of the population that should steer democratic process. Therefore, KULT is active in providing youth with legal solutions and capacities that will enable them to take actions.
Global Analitika is a non-governmental and non-profit organization with a mission to protect human rights of sensitive and marginalized groups such as youth and women. However, the special attention is given to protection of human rights of people with disabilities. The focus of the organization is put on countering all forms of violence and contributing to creation of secure environment. The organization gathers experts from all fields and has established cooperation with institutions on local, national and regional levels.
The Foundation CURE is a feminist organization that promotes sex and gender equality. The organization’s activities revolve around educational, cultural and research programs in order to achieve positive social change. CURE’s mission is to empower women so that they can become initiators of social change in the country and the world. The team of CURE is comprised of professionals and volunteers who are often engaged in protesting against violence, discrimination and violations of human rights.